Breakfast and Brunch, Vegan/Vegetarian

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

Nicoletta June 2, 2018

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Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche, a wonderful homemade brioche pastry stuffed with pesto, spinach, caramelized onion, sweet goat cheese, and melty Edam cheese, baked in individual muffin cups, can make your breakfast at home an experience to remember.

Song of the day: Patience – Guns N’ Roses.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

We’ve just come back from a 5 day trip to San Francisco, some kind of a paradise for foodies like us. We asked for recommendations on the best places to eat before leaving and fellow bloggers were kind enough to provide us with an extensive list that we tried to follow to some extent. Known my love for breakfast and baked goods, ‘where to go for breakfast’ was mandatory and dictated our schedule for the days.


It was exciting to start every morning finding our way to the recommended bakery/cafe. Even though our only means of transportation were our feet, we did not let the distance from our hotel scare us away from what seemed to be the bakery with the best croissant,  kouign amann, cruffin, or savory muffin.

We’ve found some jewels along the way and we are going to share our suggestions on San Francisco in a blog post to come. The sound of the perfect crunch on the perfect laminated croissant, the moans of delight for that oozing egg yolk, the soft chuckles of pleasure, will resound in my ears for days. It hasn’t always been a victory, though, we also found some places that were just ‘ok’ and that made me wish I was back home with some of my homemade baked goods.

As a passionate home baker, I believe in baking as often as possible. I consider it my therapy for stress relief.

I, also, believe in a lifelong education, and in my case, it is attending baking classes, anywhere I am. There’s always something to learn, to improve, to challenge. After every class I grow an inch taller in my self-confidence, a gram wiser, and a ton happier.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

This Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche is my answer to a Brioche Baking Class I attended at Duchess Atelier in Edmonton just a couple of weeks ago. Brioche dough is often seen as daunting and impossible to replicate at home, but I assure you it is less intimidating than it may seem. We made classic brioche, apple crème brulée brioche, and brioche Pépin, in a relaxed and joyful atmosphere, where everybody had fun challenging themselves, and everybody was rewarded with their beautiful creations to take home. All for the enjoyment of the family!

When making brioche dough, the main requirements are a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and a whole lot of patience. Since patience is not one of my strongest assets, the only time I made brioche dough was once before taking the class. It hadn’t risen much and was very dense, that was because I didn’t allow time for the dough to mix until smooth and shiny (about 15-20 minutes or longer). Having always to pay attention not to overwork the pastry dough for pie, tarts, shortcrust, and such, I was worried to overwork it, but this is not the case for brioche dough. There is no risk to overwork it, we were told that, rather, it is better to mix it longer. TRICK learned in class: when you think it’s done, that is when the dough has pulled away from the sides and the bottom and it is rolled around the hook, take a little piece of the dough and stretch it between your fingers; it should feel elastic and stretch until thin and see-through.

Shape gently the dough into a ball, pulling the sides down, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Then, starts the resting time.

One hour, covered, at room temperature, then it needs to be punched down, covered again, and put in the refrigerator. Yes, you will need patience between your ‘brioche craving’ and the actual ‘brioche eating’ since it is advisable to leave the brioche dough in the fridge overnight before turning it into something mouthwatering.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

This Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche needs half of the dough that I made with this recipe. I cut the dough in half. You can wrap the other half in plastic wrap lightly sprayed with oil and store it in the refrigerator for up to two days, or in the freezer for up to one week. I can see another great brioche recipe idea coming very soon using the other half of the dough.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast BriocheSpinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

I’m not going to replicate here what it’s in the recipe, moreover, the pictures show the steps of the preparation. Just a few tidbits, like do not put too much filling, roll it tight and cut it with a sharp knife seam side down. Oil the muffin tin, and place the slices in the cup, pulling the sides towards the bottom to cover the filling a bit, then let them rise again in a warm place, for at least half hour or 45 minutes. I told you to be patient, soon you will be rewarded with a delicious savory breakfast brioche.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

I love the way the brioche dough puffs up, pressing the filling into its spiraled folds. Into the oven, they go, not before a good brush with egg yolk and a sprinkle of cheese!

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

The aroma in the kitchen is divine. That brioche getting all golden on the edges and the smell of that butter melting into the dough is an appetite catcher for sure.


Just a little longer and it will be time to tear apart this breakfast brioche letting the wonderful billowy pieces to grace our tongue. The brioche is cooled but one confession, Loreto and I shared one when it was hot, oops! Getting these out of the muffin pan was relatively easy. Loreto just took a butter knife and worked it all around the edges and they just popped out.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

Don’t these look tempting? Hang on just a few final shots and then you can have one.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

I love the shape, texture, and delicateness of these Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche. Easy to handle and eat and so so aromatic. That goat cheese compliments the smell of the caramelized onion, and that spinach nicely steamed inside the roll is so complimented by that smell of butter and pesto. I think everyone can agree that the smell of dough baking with that hint of butter always makes you so hungry!


Finally, time to really get into this breakfast brioche. Ooooh, that crust is amazing, slightly crispy, and the inside so velvety soft and rich. The combination of pesto, the goat cheese, those nice strands of melted Edam, caramelized onion and spinach along with the tenderness and butteriness of the brioche is a pure delight to my taste buds.

I am so so happy with how these turned out and I am giving myself a pat on the back. Breakfast for me is not negotiable, it gets my day started and I start thinking about it before I fall asleep the night before. Why not take the hum drums out of your morning and treat yourself to some of these delicious and delectable Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche. A great way to start the weekend!

Song of the day: Patience – Guns N’ Roses.

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 10 brioche buns 1x
  • Category: Breakfast, Brunch
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International


Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche, a wonderful homemade brioche pastry stuffed with pesto, spinach, caramelized onion, sweet goat cheese, and melty Edam cheese, baked in individual muffin cups, can make your breakfast at home an experience to remember.


Brioche dough (recipe from the Duchess cookbook):

  • 13 g (1 Tbsp) fresh yeast, crumbled (or 6.5 g dried yeast)
  • 30 g (2 Tbsp) whole milk, warmed (I also use half & half cream when I have it)
  • 250 g ( 1 1/2  cups + 1 Tbsp) all-purpose flour
  • 30 g (2 Tbsp) sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, organic
  • 145 g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature (but not too warm)


  • zucchini almond mint pesto (or any other pesto you have)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • 1 tsp butter
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of paprika
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 130 g goat cheese
  • 50 g Edam cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • a handful of spinach, washed and dried
  • 1 egg yolk, for brushing


Brioche dough:

  1. Heat up the milk in a small bowl, in the microwave for a few seconds (10-15). The right temperature of the milk should be between 26°C and 32°C to activate the yeast. Stir the crumbled yeast into the warm milk until dissolved.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, salt, and mix on low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, the dissolved yeast and keep mixing on low until all the ingredients are well combined. Stop the mixer once to scrape down the sides.
  3. Still on low speed, gradually add the butter, a few cubes at a time. Once all the butter has been added, turn the mixer up to medium speed and continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. This should take 15-25 minutes, no less.
  4. Gently, shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down the dough, cover again, and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Punch it down a second time and shape it into a rectangle. At this point, the dough is ready to use, but it can also be wrapped in plastic wrap lightly sprayed with oil and stored in the refrigerator for up to two days or in the freezer for up to one week. I cut mine in half, used half and put the other half in the freezer.
  7. Butter the muffin tin. Set aside.


  1. In a medium saute pan heat olive oil and butter, toss in sliced onions, add sugar, salt, pepper, and paprika, turn heat to low to medium, add water and let saute till onions are nice, soft and caramelized, about 15 minutes cooking time. Set aside to cool a bit.
  2. Roll out the dough on a well-floured counter to about a 10-inch width to 12 inches.
  3. Spread the pesto on the surface leaving a 1/2 inch border all around. Crumble the goat cheese, add the caramelized onions, the grated Edam (leaving some to sprinkle on top after) and finish with a handful of spinach.
  4. Brush the border around with water. Roll the dough up with the filling into a long, tight log. Seal the dampened end onto the log.
  5. With a sharp knife, gently cut it in slices. Place the slices in each buttered muffin cup, pulling the sides gently down so as to cover the bottom a bit. Let rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 385° F.
  7. Brush each brioche with egg yolk, sprinkle with Edam cheese and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
  8. Let cool on a rack, then gently, with a butter knife, help the brioche to come out of the tin.


The Prep Time includes the 1-hour resting time for the brioche buns before baking them but does not include the making of the dough and the resting time in the refrigerator overnight.

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Spinach Caramelized Onion Breakfast Brioche

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  • Avatar
    Reply Milena Perrine June 4, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I have such a love for brioche and these beautiful treats are calling my name! Absolutely decadent with all the cheese and spinach and caramelized onions! I saw the posts you shared on Instagram – what a great trip to San Fran! Love that city except for the weather, lol. Pinned!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 4, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Thanks, Milena!! I love brioche too, so much! Making it and eating it 😉 . These are so so good! San Fran was awesome but I agree with you, that cold wind was awful. We said we could never live there, too many ups and downs in the temperatures. Loreto got a cold, poor guy! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Marisa June 4, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    I love working with any kind of dough and I must say I could just dive into a tray full of these brioche! They would be wonderful for lazy weekend mornings as well as brunch. I think it’s wonderful to always look for ways to challenge ourselves…one can never be bored this way! Fabiously delicious Nicoletta!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 5, 2018 at 5:50 pm

      Me too, Marisa, love working with any kind of dough. Lately, brioche is my new “obsession” 😉 . Thank you so much!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lisa June 5, 2018 at 5:39 am

    This looks like an amazing recipe, Nicoletta. I love the layers and filling inside. Beautiful!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Thank you so much, Lisa! It is such a flavorful brioche 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply chef mimi June 6, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Absolutely gorgeous!!! And so different from the standard spinach muffins!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 6, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      Thank you very much, chef Mimi!! Quite pleased with these ones 🙂 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Leanne | Crumb Top Baking June 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    I’m all about the breakfast food and these look absolutely delicious! Pesto, caramelized onions, goat cheese…..some of my favourite foods all in an individualized muffin cup! They look so good!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 7, 2018 at 7:10 am

      Thank you, Leanne! They are amazing, especially because of the homemade brioche dough that let the filling shine 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise from Urb’n’Spice June 7, 2018 at 11:16 am

    When I saw your lovely breakfast brioche photo on Instagram the other day, I could not wait to see the recipe that went with it! I am honestly wanting to go home and make it right this minute! Brioche is one of my favourite doughs to work with and it seems to me that you are already excelling at brioche yeast baked goods. 😊. This particular breakfast brioche reminds me very much of something I tasted years ago at Tartine in San Francisco. After reading about your travels there with Loreto, I want to go back! Happy baking! Thank you for sharing this lovely brioche recipe, Nicoletta.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 7, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Thank you so much, Denise! It means a lot coming from you. I am enjoying making brioche dough immensely, I have another recipe coming soon 😉 . We loved San Francisco, already want to go back!

  • Avatar
    Reply Terri June 7, 2018 at 4:52 pm

    I just love how fancy this sounds! Just telling people I had brioche for breakfast would be so darn impressive 🙂 I definitely want to try this as I have (obviously) never made brioche. So fun to say! 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta June 8, 2018 at 7:40 am

      If you do make brioche dough you will be hooked. It is amazing, so light and buttery and very versatile both for sweet and savory ideas. Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Avatar
    Reply Teresa April 12, 2020 at 8:51 am

    These breakfast brioche are fantastic! I made a spinach pesto and carmelized an entire onion. The dough is lght and flaky and the brioche went quickly.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta April 12, 2020 at 10:10 am

      I’m so happy to hear you loved them! They are so flavorful! I need to make some, thanks for reminding me 🙂 . And thanks for the feedback!

  • Avatar
    Reply Noam Brosh July 9, 2020 at 2:03 am

    Unbelievable. Turned out like i bought it fresh out of a bakery. I am stunned.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta July 10, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Yay! So happy to hear that! We love them. The flaky light pastry and that filling…ohhh… 😉 . Thank you for the feedback!

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